The medium of instruction has long been a controversial problem in Hong Kong. Although the British colonized the territory in 1842, the colonial government did not have an official language policy until the Official Language Ordinance of 1974, and it was left to the principal of each school to decide whether teaching should be conducted in Chinese or English. Representative of the “non-interventionist” policies of moderate imperialism, British colonial educators favored Chinese as the language of education for local pupils. However, the liberal views of these early British educators were quickly challenged by colonial governors, as well as by the parents of school pupils. Thus, it was not surprising that the first attempt by the colonial government to implement a mother-tongue education policy in 1973 was quickly aborted and reverted in 1974 to a lassez-faire approach. Consequently, 90% of all schools nominally used English as the medium of instruction (EMI) in 1994. It was also unsurprising that, when the exiting colonial government finally implemented the mother-tongue education policy in March 1997, it was met with fierce opposition from parents, and the policy has been adjusted or fine-tuned multiple times since then.
Lou, J. J. (2015). The tacit dimension of medium of instruction. Cultural Studies@Lingnan, 46. Retrieved from http://commons.ln.edu.hk/mcsln/vol46/iss1/5/